"If any man speak, let him
Speak As
The Oracles
of God..." (I Peter 4:11)
Holding Up the
Preacher's Hands
by Walter W. Pigg

When Amalek fought with Israel in Rephidim, Moses fold Joshua to choose men to fight with
Amalek. Moses said he would stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand. While
Joshua carried out his orders and fought with Amalek, Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of
the hill. During the battle, when Moses held up his hands, Israel prevailed, but when he let down
his hands, Amalek prevailed. "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it
under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on one side,
and the other on the other side; and his hands tuere steady until the going down of the sun"
(Exodus 17:12). Moses' hands being held up resulted in victory. "And Joshua discomfited
Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword" (Exodus 17:13).

The expression to "hold up one's hands" has come to mean support, encouragement, and
cooperation with one in a particular endeavor. It is in this sense that we set forth the following
relative to Holding Up The Preacher's Hands.

There is no question but that there is no more important work than that of a gospel preacher, as
he proclaims the "unsearchab/e riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8), the gospel, which is "God's
power unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). Paul shows the essentiality of preaching when he asks:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in
him of whom they have not heard; and how shall they hear without a preacher" (Romans 10:14).
Paul quotes Isaiah to emphasize the preacher's noble work, "How beautiful are the feet of them
that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things" (Romans 10:15).

If the faithful and true gospel preacher is to accomplish the greatest good through his divine
calling, his hands must be held up, yea, even "steadied" until the "going down of the sun" when
his work is ended. When the preacher's hands are not held up, his work is hindered; individual
Christians are affected, and congregations fail to serve their Godgiven purpose of edifying the
members and seeking the lost. The harm that is done cannot be measured in terms of material
things, since even one soul is worth more than all the world (Matthew 16:26).

Before we consider some ways whereby the preacher's hands can be held up, we wish to
emphasize the fact that not every preacher's hands should be held up, and some hands cannot
be held up because it involves the preacher's willingness. We certainly do not wish to minimize
the preacher's responsibility in this respect.

Only preachers who are so dedicated that they are "set for the defense of the gospel"
(Philippians 1:17), and willing to "earnestly con­tend for the faith which was once delivered unto
the saints" (Jude 3) are worthy of having their hands held up by way of support and
encouragement. Those who "transgresseth, and abideth not in the doc­trine of Christ" (II John
9) do not lead people to God and the salvation which is "in Christ." "Many false prophets are
gone out into the world" (I John 4:1) and none of these should have his hands held up.

Some preachers hands cannot be held up because their heart is not in preaching the word.
Recently, I heard of a preacher of several years, and of considerable ability, leaving the pulpit to
cut wood for a living. Some time ago, another preacher of several years came by my office — not
to discuss spiritual things, but to sell insurance. He had left the pulpit for secular work. Of
course, some preachers have given up their work due to things beyond their control, while
others are not characterized by Paul's devotion to the gospel as expressed in I Corinthians 9:16:
"For necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel."



No preacher should be exalted as is done by wearing religious titles such as "Reverend," "Most
Reverend," "Father," etc. Neither should a preacher manifest an ostentatious disposition of
proudness and haughtiness. But the faithful preacher of the gospel should be esteemed for his
work. There is no one, regardless of his wealth, educa­tion, notoriety, or political influence that
is doing a more important work than that of the preacher. Yet gospel preachers are sometimes
looked down upon by the haughty and proud with evident disrespect. Most preachers of many
years can testify to this.


When the whole truth is preached without fear or favor, there will be some opposition. It is most
encouraging to a preacher to know that others love the truth and are willing to uphold and
defend it, and stand by the proclaimer of it. What an opportunity Godly elders have to hold up the
hands of the preacher by letting the congregation know, quite often, that they stand by the
preacher when he preaches the truth. Disgruntled, cantankerous, and compromising members
should never be allowed to interfere with the preacher's work by allowing them to have their way
simply because brethren do not have the fortitude to stand up to such people.


The primary work of a preacher is to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2). When there is such a
great need for the truth (sound doctrine) to be preached, it is discouraging to the faithful
preacher to be kept "at home" when he has opportunities to preach in other places as well. A
soul won or strengthened in the faith at some other place is also doing the Lord's work. We
shouldn't be selfish with the truth!


It is not unusual for a preacher not to be invited into the homes of the members. Preachers may
be expected to be hospitable by those who are inhospitable. A few years ago I attended a
personal work study conducted by a visiting preacher at a congregation several miles from
where I lived. The visiting preacher had his eight year old son with him. As I talked with the
preacher (nearly all the members had gone home) his son asked: "Daddy, where are we going
to stay tonight?" His dad answered, "We may sleep in the station wagon." They were invited to
our house where my wife and I enjoyed their company greatly. When a congregation's hospitality
stops on the church grounds, the preacher's hands are not being held up!


There is too much truth too often in the statement that "A preacher only has to worry about being
humble, the brethren will keep him poor." Though the faithful preacher cannot put his trust in
"treasures upon earth" (as members often do), he is entitled to "live of the gospel" (I Corinthians
9:14). Not only do preachers have living expenses like everyone else, it is often the case that
their expenses are greater than the average member. Preachers often live with a feeling of
insecurity since they do not have a house of their own, and may have to move without much
advance notice. Few preachers have the "side benefits" such as health insurance, retirement,
overtime pay, or long paid vacations that many workers have today.


The preacher and the congregation should be "laborers together" as they go about doing the
Lord's will. No preacher is encouraged when he is looked upon simply as a "hired hand" to do
the congrega­tion's work. In some cases he may have several "bosses" to whom they feel he
should be accountable. No one preacher can do the work a congregation has to do, and even if
he could, the members would lose their reward for having failed to serve.


Many a preacher has been hindered in his work because he has been saddled with all sorts of
jobs which should be done by the members who often do little more than attend church
services. The preacher should not be asked to "leave the word of God, and serve tables" (Acts 6:
2) but he is often made a "handy man" to take care of the upkeep of the church building and
grounds, along with no telling what else. Visiting the sick is not a "trivial matter," and the
preacher should certainly engage in this as opportunity permits, but he is not the "hired visitor"
to do the visiting that others should do.


The preacher's work is not easy and few are they who are willing to give themselves to that
work. But his work could be made more enjoyable, and effective, by his hands being held up by
the members.
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